By: Prof. Paul Eidelberg—
In The Dream Palace of the Arabs, the renowned Lebanese-born scholar, Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University, portrays the thoughts of the most prominent of literati of the Arab-Islamic world who sorrowfully behold the “death of Arab civilization.” He himself writes that “Arab society had run through most of its myths, and what remained in the wake of the word, of the many proud statements people had made about themselves and their history, was a new world of cruelty, waste, and confusion.”
Sectarian strife, violence, insurrection, and terrorism erupt repeatedly throughout the Islamic world. This turbulence is described in a study of some fifty countries in which Muslims reside, and it matters not whether these Muslims constitute an overwhelming majority or only a tiny minority. It makes no difference whether the Muslims are Sunni or Shi’ite Muslims, Arabs or non-Arabs, or even whether they are “fundamentalists,” “traditionalists,” “reformists,” or “secularists”—the story is the same.
There are theological reasons for Islamic decay and violence.
It should first be emphasized that to identify Allah with the God of Israel is a profound error. Allah is absolutely transcendent. One consequence of Allah’s absolute transcendence is the impossibility of human free will or choice..
Islamic fatalism contradicts the free will implied in the Genesis account of man’s creation in the image of God. The Jewish God—the God of Abraham—endows all men with freedom. Abraham can argue and plead with God, as did Moses, because the God of the Jews is a personal God, immanent as well as transcendent. Jews can “negotiate” with their God.
Muslims cannot negotiate with Allah—and this is the ultimate reason why it is futile for Israel to negotiate with Muslims! The concept of “conflict resolution” purveyed by political science departments in the West is utterly foreign to Islam’s deity, a god of war.
Gregory M. Davis says as much in Religion of Peace? Islam’s War Against the World (2006). He analyzes the three foundational sources of Islam—the Koran, the Sira (the life of Mohammad), and the Hadith (traditions of Muhammad), and he demonstrates that the conflict between Islam and the West is irreconcilable.
The same conclusion appeared in a February 5, 2007 FrontPageMagazine interview of Bill Warner, director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam. The Center sees a fundamental dualism in Islam. This dualism, says Warner, begins in the Koran, “which is actually two books, the Koran of Mecca (early) and the Koran of Medina (later).” As scholars have noted, the Koran is replete with contradictions. Islam resolves these contradictions by resorting to the concept of “abrogation,” which means that the verse written later supersedes the earlier verse.
But as Warner observes, since the Koran is considered by Muslims to be the perfect word of Allah, both earlier and later verses are deemed sacred and true. The earlier verses can’t be wrong since Allah is perfect. Both verses are true in dualistic logic. For example: The Koran of Mecca states: “Listen to what they say with patience, and leave them with dignity.” The Koran of Medina states: “: ‘I will … give strength to the believers. I will send terror into the unbelievers’ hearts, cut off their heads and even the tips of their fingers!’”
The words of Allah conflict with Western logic, which is based on the law of contradiction: if two things contradict, then at least one of them is false. Islamic logic is dualistic: two things can contradict each other and yet both are true. This dualism underlies the futility of negotiating with Muslims. There are also cultural reasons for this futility.
The culture of the West is based on a unitary ethics best formulated in the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would have them treat you. The Golden Rule implies a basic equality of human beings. All religions have some version of the Golden Rule except Islam. Indeed, the term ‘human being,’ says Warner, “has no meaning inside of Islam. There is no such thing as humanity, only the duality of the believer and unbeliever.” The Hadith declares: “A Muslim should not lie, cheat, kill or steal from other Muslims. But a Muslim may lie, deceive or kill an unbeliever if it advances Islam.”
“This dualistic ethic,” says Warner, “is the basis for jihad.” Islam’s ethical system portrays the unbeliever as less than human. Hence “it is easy to kill, harm or deceive the unbeliever.” …
Islam’s dualistic logic and dualistic ethics makes it completely foreign to us. “Muslims think differently from us and feel differently from us.” Our aversion to Islam causes us to avoid learning about Islam so we are ignorant and stay ignorant. Warner sees “there is no compromise with dualistic ethics. There is no halfway place between unitary ethics and dualistic ethics.” Negotiation with Muslims is therefore futile.…
Islamic ethics cannot long remain part of a multicultural society. “Islam,” says Warner, “does not assimilate, it dominates. There is never any ‘getting along’ with Islam. Its demands never cease and the demands must be met on Islam’s terms: submission”—the very meaning of the word “Islam.” …
Although the Koran refers to Allah as the “compassionate” and the “merciful,” his most conspicuous function in that anti-humanistic book is to consign unbelievers to hell. Contrary to what the West believes, Islam’s dualistic ethics contradicts ethical monotheism.
According to Muhammad’s own admission, Islam stands or falls with the person of its prophet. This obliges serious scholars to examine Muhammad’s character…. No less than St. Thomas Aquinas, the greatest theologian of Catholic Christianity, regarded Muhammad as a fraud. In the Summa Contra Gentiles (1259-1264), Aquinas says this of Islam’s Prophet:
He seduced the people by promises of carnal pleasures … His teachings also contained precepts that were in conformity with promises … the truths that he taught were mingled with many fables and with doctrines of the greatest falsity… he perverts almost all the testimonies of the Old and New Testaments by making them fabrications of his own, as can be seen by anyone who examines his law. It was, therefore, a shrewd decision on his part to forbid his followers to read the Old and New Testaments, lest these books convict him of falsity.
… In The Sword of the Prophet (2002), Serge Trifkovic departs from the moral “neutrality” of academia and provides a “Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam.” Trifkovic portrays Muhammad … as cruel, ignorant, and lascivious. Thus, after slaughtering Arab tribesmen and looting their camels, the prophet and his followers kidnapped their women and staged an orgy of rape….
Trifkovik is aware of the cultural and historical relativism that would prompt Western intellectuals to say, “we must not extend the judgmental yardstick of our own culture to the members of other cultures who have lived in other eras.” He counters this relativism by pointing out that “even in the context of seventh century Arabia, Muhammad had to resort to divine revelations as a means of suppressing the prevalent moral code of his own milieu.”
… Trifkovic sums up his assessment of Muhammad by quoting that most refined and prescient observer Alexis de Tocqueville:
I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. So far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.
After Muhammad’s death, Islam destroyed a Christian Middle East and a Christian North Africa. The research of the Center for the Study of Political Islam indicates that some 60 million Christians were slaughtered during this jihadic conquest. Half of the Hindu civilization was annihilated and 80 million Hindus killed. Jihad destroyed much of Buddhism, killing about 10 million Buddhists. Zoroastrianism was eliminated from Persia. Approximately 270 million nonbelievers died over the last 1400 years for the glory of Islam. This history is not taught in any western schools….
Islamic Imperialism is the title of Efraim Karsh’s book on Islam’s relentless, global ambition.…The Introduction begins with these quotes:
● “I was ordered to fight all men until they say ‘There is no god but Allah.’”
Prophet Muhammad’s farewell address, March 632
● “I shall cross this sea to their islands to pursue them until there remains no one on the face of the earth who does not acknowledge Allah.”
Saladin, January 1189
● “We shall export our revolution throughout the world … until the calls ’there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah’ are echoed all over the world.”
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, 1979
● “I was ordered to fight people until they say there is no god but Allah, and his prophet Muhammad.”
Osama bin Laden. November 2001
… The logic of Islamic imperialism is the inexorable reason why no Arab- Muslim ruler has ever recognized, except for tactical reasons, the land called “Palestine” as separate from the House of Islam. Arab rhetoric about a “Palestinian” state is intended solely for Western consumption. It prompts the US and the EU to bankroll the Palestinians and their cunning terrorist leaders.
Karsh quotes the eminent Arab-American historian Philip Hitti, who in 1946 described the common Arab view: “There is no such thing as Palestine in history, absolutely not.” It was never “perceived as a distinct entity deserving national self-determination but as an integral part of a unified regional Arab order, no element of which should be conceded at any cost.” …
These would-be Saladins may have delusions of grandeur; but they now have within their reach weapons of mass destruction. This makes the world-conquering glory of Islam in the past Islam’s vision of the future.
Islam’s Contempt For The West
If Islam’s dualistic logic and dualistic ethics were not enough to make fools of those who would negotiate with Muslims, add Islam’s mind-closing contempt for the West. G. E. Von Grunebaum writes in Modern Islam (1962): “It is essential to realize that Muslim civilization …is not vitally interested in analytical self-understanding, and it is even less interested in the structural study of other cultures, either as an end in itself or as a means of a clearer understanding of its own character and history.”
Bernard Lewis’ essay, “The Roots of Muslim Rage” (1990), portrays Islam’s overweening arrogance. Convinced of its possession of absolute truth, Islam cannot believe it is of any value to study cultures steeped in error. Hence it discourages among the faithful any incentive to understand other cultures from the latter’s own point of view.
Unlike Jews (and Westerners in general), people mired in the mentality of the Koran or of Arab-Islamic culture lack the ability to see or respect the other fellow’s point of view and to moderate their demands accordingly. This attitude makes nonsense not only of Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence on “reciprocity” when negotiating with Muslim despots, but of his very desire to negotiate with them in the first place!
But consider the bizarre case of the late Professor Yehoshafat Harkabi, a former Director of Israel Military Intelligence (as well as the mentor of Shimon Peres). In Arab Attitudes to Israel, Harkabi goes so far as to suggest that mendacity is “second nature” to the Arabs, that one may rightly regard “falsehood as an expression of national character.” He quotes the liberated Arab sociologist Sonia Hamady: “Lying is a widespread habit among the Arabs, and they have a low idea of truth.” Yet Harkabi, who describes Islam as a bellicose and expansionist creed, advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state!…
A nation can negotiate and make peace with its enemies, provided the latter are not enemies of civilization…. Israel cannot say to Islamo-Nazis what the Americans said to the British, in 1776: “enemies in war, in peace friends.”…
Those words of the Declaration presuppose an international community of sovereign nation-states which, despite frequent wars, acknowledges that people can be friends despite their differences. Nothing in Islamic history affirms this basic principle of civilization….There is but one honest conclusion to be drawn from Islam’s fourteen-century ethos: Israel will not enjoy genuine peace with its neighbors so long as Muslims remain Muslims. It is simply absurd and self-demeaning to negotiate with those who regard you as subhuman, as descendants of apes and pigs.
Fouad Ajami, The Dream Palace of the Arabs (Vintage Books, 1999), pp. 123; 121, 220-222, 310-311.
Daniel Pipes, In the Path of God: Islam and Power (Translation Publishers, 2002), ch. 9.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles (Doubleday, Image Books, 1955), pp. 73-74.
Serge Trifkovic, The Sword of the Prophet (Regina Orthodox Press, 2002). See also Robert Spencer, Who Is Muhammad(Regnery, 2006).
Ibid., p. 50. See Ibn Warraq, Why I am Not a Muslim (Prometheus Books, 2003), p. 97.
Ibid., p. 208.
Efraim Karsh, Islamic Imperialism (Yale University Press, 2006).